claire monestes

Claire Monestès, in 1915

Claire Monestès, who founded the Xavieres Sisters, passed away on February 14, 1939. Every year, the date of February 14 is an opportunity for us xavieres sisters to remember Claire and to give thanks for who she was and for the legacy of her spiritual insights. Remembering can be as simple as reading some of her spiritual writings, or sharing these treasured texts with friends… or doing both by posting a post on this blog! The text below was found by Claire’s bedside after her death. It was in her handwriting on the back of a card.

“Courage et confiance! l’hiver est passé, la tourterelle chante déjà, la moisson va venir, allons la cueillir d’un grand cœur reconnaissant et fidèle.”

In English this text could read as follows:

“Take courage and trust! Winter is over, already the dove is singing. The harvest is at hand: let us go gather the harvest with a large, grateful and steadfast heart.”

This hopeful exhortation still resonates with us! We hope it reaches the heart of many. We are delighted to share it with you on this day.


This poem was written while staying at Weston Priory, Vermont, USA
during the Summer of 2015


are you an arrow?
planted in the ground,
directed towards the sky?

The Cross in the Stone Chapel

The Cross in the Stone Chapel, Weston Priory

Your bar reaches from
East to West.

You look simple
yet when I look at you
I feel that you reach out
to the whole world.

You look simple
yet my eyes upon you,
and I feel that you tell a story
that all can understand
a story that touches the life
of all.

I notice the red dots
on your branches.


North and South,  East and West,
Rachel wailing,
people  wounded,
creation spoiled
through  carelessness,

The Cross in the Barn Chapel, Weston Priory, July 2015

The Cross in the Barn Chapel, Weston Priory

Your Cross is in my life
my body shaped by the Cross,
my heart opened up by the Cross.

Your Cross calls out to me
o Lord:

“What will you do?
Will you live and love
to restore creation,
to restore creativity,
wherever you are,
wherever it is shattered?”

To this I say yes my Lord, yes.


Lake Ontario in Cobourg – Winter 2014

March 22, 2014 was World Water Day. We celebrated that day in different ways here in Toronto, including by attending a workshop at Regis College in the Windows on Theology – Continuous Learning program. The workshop was named “Living Waters: Reflecting on the Source and Summit of Life”. There were great talks about the state of the Oceans and what it means for life on our planet; about eco-justice and how eco-justice relates to the social teachings of the Church; and about the need to find a language of the heart, a language of the Spirit, to reach the confluence of science, spirituality and ecology. The day ended with the celebration of the Sunday mass: in this the third Sunday of Lent, we were given the story of the people of Israel journeying through the desert and receiving water from rock, as well as gospel story of the woman of Samaria, who goes to the well to draw water, and finds Jesus -or rather, is found by Jesus. Attached to this post is the reflection that I prepared for that celebration. Many blessings on your lenten journey! Gabrielle

Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent – March 22, 2014 – World Water Day

Claire Monestès in 1915 (source: archives, La Xaviere)

Claire Monestès in 1915 (source: archives, La Xaviere)

Two dates in the month of February evoke Claire Monestès for us. On February 4, 1921, Claire took her first vows in Marseilles, and so did Leonie Fabre, her first companion. The community of the Xavieres was founded on that date, Claire later said.  On February 14, 1939, Claire passed away in Paris. On her nightstand was found a note that read: « Courage et confiance, l’hiver est passé, la tourterelle chante déjà, la moisson va venir, allons la cueillir d’un grand cœur reconnaissant et fidèle ». A translation in English would be as follows: “Courage and trust, winter is over, already the turtledove is heard singing, the harvest is coming, let us go out to the harvest with a faithful heart filled with gratitude.”

Claire Monestès is the founder of our community, the Xavieres, Missionaries of Christ Jesus. She was born in Savoy, France, in 1880, and died in Paris, France, in 1939. A fine musician, she was a passionate woman who from a very young age was determined to be consecrated to God. She was inspired by the missionary zeal of St Francis Xavier, and by the spirituality of St Ignatius Loyola. She grew up in a France marked by the beginning of the separation of Church and state. She grew in her spiritual journey, with an ever greater desire to bridge the divide between the Church and people who are far from the Church. In 1921, she founded the Xavieres.

Today, men and women of different walks of life are touched by Claire Monestès. They find solace and inspiration in Claire’s spiritual journey for their own life of disciples of Jesus in the Church.

During this month of February 2014, in this jubilee year for the Xaviere community, we give thanks to God for the life of Claire Monestès. We are grateful for the fruits she has borne in the Church, for the inspiration she is for many. We pray that we may have an ever deeper understanding of her gift for the mission today.

« Soyons ferventes du monde présent, non de celui d’hier; adaptons-nous perpétuellement. Servantes du monde présent, voilà la Xavière. » – Claire Monestès, founder of the Xavieres

“Let us be fervent of the present time, and not of time of the past. Let us constantly adapt. Servant of the present time, this is the hallmark of the Xaviere.” –  Claire Monestès, founder of the Xavieres

Picture: G. Feuvrier

Cross-country Trail, Mansfield, Ontario, Feb. 15, 2014

Photo G. Feuvrier

Toronto, Dec. 22, 2013 – Tree

 A spell of freezing rain has covered the trees with a coating of ice on Sunday. Snow, gently, is falling all day long… Merry Christmas and every blessing.


“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5